22 WING/CFB NORTH BAY
Major Eric Quirion, Deputy Commanding Officer of 22 Wing’s Administration and Technical Services Branch and Domestic Operations Officer is currently training in North Bay for the 97th Annual International Nijmegen Marches to be held this July in the Netherlands.
This is the second time that Maj. Quirion will participate in the gruelling, yet prestigious trek. In 2012 he was team leader for a National Capital Region Team that won the Woodhouse Trophy in recognition of the Canadian team that best represented the spirit of the Nijmegen Marches.
This year the stakes are higher as he takes on greater responsibility as the Deputy Commander (DC) for the Canadian Nijmegen Contingent.
“My role as the DC is to provide leadership and guidance to the Canadian team leaders and I consider this an honour and a privilege. Participating in Nijmegen is an opportunity to be part of a meaningful activity that is important to Canadians. It continues to be a visible sign of our ongoing security commitments.”
Quirion has faced some challenges in preparing for the four-day 160 kilometre trek.
“The Nijmegen is rigorous and requires months of training. Finding the time to train while balancing work and family has not been easy but the rewards will stay with me a lifetime."
He will battle fatigue, the elements and the possibility of injury all while wearing a 10 kilogram rucksack.
“Nijmegen is a test of leadership, stamina and teamwork and mastering these three elements is the key to success.” It is that sense of accomplishment, being part of a team and connecting with an international community while paying tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”
His time abroad will include commemorating the Canadian Armed Forces legacy in Europe during remembrance ceremonies at Vimy Ridge and at Groesbeek Cemetery.
This year's event will mark the 61st anniversary of the participation of the Canadian Forces in the Nijmegen Marches.
The event draws some 45,000 participants from 50 countries, with over one million spectators. The Nijmegen Marche was created in 1909 in The Netherlands to increase the load carrying capability and marching speed of infantry troops.
It has since evolved into the largest marching event in the world. Canada has participated in the Nijmegen Marches since 1952.